Selected reports and information published by New York State's Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli during the week ending July 14, 2017
How heavily local governments rely on federal aid as part of their individual revenue mix varies by class. In 2015, federal aid as a share of total revenue was the highest for counties (11.2 percent), followed by New York City (10.1 percent), New York City schools (6.5 percent), other cities in the state (5.7 percent), other school districts (4.1 percent), villages (2.9 percent) and towns (2.7 percent). Reliance on federal aid can also vary widely within these classes of government. Specific data on each county, city, town, village and school district for 2015 is available through a new, interactive feature on DiNapoli’s website.
Generally, the type of federal aid New York’s local governments received in 2015 supported a broad range of purposes, which includes social services, education, transportation, public safety, economic development, health, community services, culture and recreation, utilities and sanitation.
To read DiNapoli’s report “The Impact of Federal Aid on New York’s Local Governments,” go to:
To view the interactive data, go to: http://wwe1.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/fedaid/fedaid.cfm
State audits and examinations issued:
Department of Health (DOH): Medicaid Program: Medicaid Payments for Pharmacy Claims - Joia Pharmacy and a Related Prescriber (2013-S-4)
Department of Health (DOH): Inappropriate Payments for Recipients not Enrolled in Medicaid Mainstream Managed Care or Family Health Plus (2015-S-47)
For the period Oct. 1, 2010 through Dec. 31, 2014, DOH made 190,686 improper or questionable premium payments, totaling about $72.6 million, on behalf of 105,358 recipients who were subsequently disenrolled retroactively from managed care plans and who did not receive medical services during the disenrollment periods. This included more than $10.5 million related to 7,415 deceased recipients. During the six-month period after auditors provided the claim details to DOH, 14,209 claims totaling more than $7.4 million in improper premium payments had been voided, leaving 176,477 premium payments totaling about $65.2 million that still needed to be reviewed and, if warranted, recovered.
New York State Health Insurance Program: Empire BlueCross BlueShield (Empire): Controls over Payments for Special Items (2016-S-67)
In response to prior audits, Empire improved its controls over the identification and recovery of overpayments for special items. As a result of Empire’s efforts, including contracts with two vendors, Empire recovered overpayments totaling $6,313,534 for special items. Nonetheless, auditors concluded that Empire needs to further enhance its reviews of special item payments by incorporating steps and techniques that result in additional recoveries.
New York State Liquor Authority (SLA): Statewide Compliance with Administrative Requirements for Retail Liquor License Approvals, Renewals, and Enforcement Actions (2016-S-32)
On a statewide basis, SLA generally approved new liquor licenses and license renewals consistent with state law and its prescribed administrative protocols. SLA adequately ensured that license applicants and parties seeking renewals complied with the prescribed documentation requirements. For the new license applications selected for review, SLA had 99 percent of the required documentation on file. SLA also complied with its administrative requirements pertaining to license revocations, cancellations, and suspensions.
Department of Health, Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation - Department of Environmental Conservation Oversight of Health and Safety Regulations at Public Pools, Beaches, and Spray Grounds (2016-S-55)
All three agencies have appropriate controls in place and are providing adequate oversight to ensure that public pools, beaches, and spray grounds under their jurisdiction are safe for public use. Each agency has developed procedures to address health and safety issues at each of the facilities it operates or oversees.
New York City Department of Finance: Selected Controls over Property Tax Assessments (2015-N-1)
Auditors reviewed 508 parcels valued during fiscal year 2014 to fiscal year 2016 and found the agency did not conduct necessary inspections for 276 (54 percent) of them. Without the required inspections, DOF cannot be certain such changes are adequately considered when valuing a property.
Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA): Electronic Benefit Transfer Card Transactions and Prohibited Locations(2016-S-52)
OTDA has adopted appropriate policies and practices to avoid the risk of federal financial penalties. In addition, auditors found the office’s monitoring of EBT transactions to generally be adequate, but identified certain strategic refinements that could help the office to better monitor transactions and identify violations. Auditors analyzed client card usage at prohibited locations and identified 15 recipients with 20 or more EBT transactions. Of these, seven recipients had 20 or more transactions at the Turning Stone Casino, including one recipient with 71 EBT card transactions totaling more than $3,360.
Department of State (DOS): Monitoring of Not-for-Profit Cemetery Corporations for Fiscal Stability and Adequate Facility Maintenance (2016-S-79)
As of Sept. 30, 2016, DOS records indicate 642 cemeteries (37 percent) had overdue audits and 285 (16 percent) had delinquent annual reports. For 145 cemeteries (8 percent), audits were overdue and annual reports were delinquent as well. As of Dec. 1, 2016, 391 cemeteries (22 percent) had not been inspected in over seven years.
The board has not developed a multiyear financial plan and did not adopt effective budgets because it did not receive accurate and sufficient financial information from the clerk-treasurer. Unpaid property taxes ($101,000) and water bills ($64,000) have severely impacted the village’s financial condition. The board also did not conduct an annual audit of the clerk-treasurer’s records and reports.
The justices correctly reported financial activities to the Justice Court Fund on a monthly basis. However, they did not perform bank reconciliations or accountability analyses on a monthly basis during the audit period. As a result, two of the three judges had cash overages totaling $1,743.
The board did not develop overtime budgets based on known needs and historical trends. Officials did not adequately monitor adopted budgets and allowed them to be over-expended each year. Auditors also found that although the police department’s collective bargaining agreement allows officers to accumulate up to 80 hours of overtime during the year, town officials did not adhere to those limits.
The town’s unaccounted-for water during the past two years was approximately 38 million gallons, or 40 percent of total production. Inaccurate master meters and customer meters have contributed to the unaccounted-for water. Water Districts 1, 3 and 7 reported deficit fund balances as of December 31, 2016, and all but two water districts realized operating deficits in 2016.
The board needs to improve the claims auditing process to ensure all claims are properly audited, adequately supported and for legitimate authority purposes. The board also needs to improve its cash receipt process to ensure cash receipt functions are adequately segregated to safeguard authority assets.
The village’s length of service award program (LOSAP) records for 47 of the department’s 138 active volunteers showed that at least 27 of these volunteers did not receive accurate LOSAP points. This may result in the loss of future benefits for volunteers or, conversely, in the village incurring more LOSAP costs than necessary.
College officials have adopted effective fixed asset policies and procedures. The fixed asset policies and procedures establish the minimum cost to determine when assets should be recorded in the inventory records.
The 2017-18 budget relies on nonrecurring revenue, such as fund balance, to balance its budget. The city could potentially face a shortfall of approximately $1.7 million in revenue if income tax surcharges remain at 2016-17 levels and a shortfall of $515,000 if revenue estimates from the Parking Violations Bureau are not realized. Police overtime costs could potentially be over budget by as much as $2.6 million based on the 2016-17 fiscal year overtime costs.